Thursday, November 30, 2006

No Speak English

Seeing the powerlessness of her neighbors on Mango Street, Esperanza knows that she can succeed with the art of language. A majority of Esperanza’s friends, family, and neighbors suffer from a lack of knowledge of speaking English. The struggle of language is most apparent in Cisneros’s chapter, “No Speak English.” Mamacita literally becomes a prisoner in her apartment on Mango Street, because she “is afraid of English” and misses her real home in Mexico (Cisneros 77). When her son starts speaking English, she is hysterical and exclaims, “No speak English!” (78).

The barrier between languages creates an even stronger barrier between people and their cultures. More often than not, such a blockade inhibits the communication vital to survive. Esperanza’s parents fall victim to this; Esperanza’s father ate “hamandeggs” for three months because he did not know any other word and her mother, although she speaks some English, it is apparent in the poorly written note that she lacks communication skills to those who only speak English.

I think that Esperanza is completely aware of the problem of communication in her neighborhood and she does not want to be trapped like so many by the barrier of language. By writing about Mango Street, her horrible experiences seem less terrible—and for now—she can temporarily escape such horrors. In effect, her determination to write is her hope to one day, escape from the poor living conditions of Mango Street, with the aid of her writing and strong communication skills. Once Esperanza leaves Mango Street, she will return. She will return by passing along the story of her neighborhood, her roots. She will tell her story will let the world know about her experience and culture, bridging the gap, and breaking the barrier of language. Although Esperanza hopes to escape, she will always be Mango Street—something she will one day realize with pride.